ROCKABILLY HALL OF FAME® MERCHANDISE & SERVICES
1933 - 2001
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You are encouraged to send a comment regarding Jerry. -- Thank you.
Contact: Larry Merritt (Nashville) 615-599-1878
I first met Jerry in 1965 when he was playing in a bar in Yakima, Washington. When he took a
break from playing I offered to buy him a drink and he was flattered I knew who he actually
was as far as his own recording career as well as knowing that he'd been a Blue Cap and had
written songs for Gene Vincent. We became life-long friends after that keeping in touch by
way of letters, phone or visits when we were in the same town and knowing each other's
families as well.
Jerry invited me to go out to his home in Tampico and visit him and Gene Vincent when
Vincent was in town and also invited me to their practice session at the Chieftain Hotel
earlier in the day before Gene and him played there that first evening of that week's
appearances which gave me a chance to visit and get to know Gene Vincent as well as being
Gene's guest there that night.
As a matter of fact, it was those meetings with Gene that allowed me to be mentioned in
his book "Race With The Devil".
As well as being a talented artist, Jerry was a very special human being. He was very humble
and sincere and if you were his friend he would do anything he could for you.
The last time I saw Jerry was shortly before his death and he brought Gene Vincent, Jr.
in the record shop that I co-own, "Off The Record" in Yakima and we had a short visit.
I also enjoyed getting to know Jerry's son, Larry, who in his own right is a very talented
I have missed Jerry since his untimely death and will continue to miss him as long as
I am alive. You just can't replace friends, people and talents like Jerry.
I didn't get to know my Uncle Jerry well until I was a young man in my twenties (about 20 years ago)
when I was a DJ on the radio in Yakima. I would visit with him on the phone now and again, and keep
in touch with him through my cousin Larry. When I was about 8 years old, I remember going out to his
ranch near Tampico, WA at a holiday celebration at the Ghost Town movie set that he owned.
Probably my best memory was when we co-wrote a baseball song together right after Mark Macguire
broke the home run record. I still have the rough original tapes that he made of the finished
song. Even though he was busy with his own project, he took the time to write it with me and
actually sang it on a demo. We never did get to go back to the studio to record a final cut.
That was about the time he was recording "Thunder Roll."
I'll always treasure Jerry's genuine creativity and humor, and I'm glad I got to know this fine man.
Roger Bernier (Merritt)
I was just starting to have an e-mail correspondence with Jerry shortly before he passed away.
He would always answer my e-mails.
He was one of my great heroes. His solo on HOT DOLLAR is one of the great ones in rock history.
The CRAZY TIMES album is one of my all time favorites.
I also have the Town Hall video with Jerry and Gene and treasure it.
Jerry was telling me he was cutting a blues album. He said he would send me some of his takes.
I only wish he lived long enough to finish that project. He could play great blues!
I could sense his dedication. He told me that fans like me - what was keeping him alive.
I met Jerry at the Buddy Knox Tribute at the Tractor in Seattle, in 1999.
I began a correspondence with him and he was always the gentleman.
At the Tractor that evening, I was sitting next to him and he was introduced
as a person who worked with all the rock and roll bands of the fifties and sixties.
He just stood up and waved and sat down. A few from the audience who knew
of this gigantic talent urged him to go up on stage and play a tune or two.
He softly said he was a little rusty and really couldn't get the licks going
too well anymore and anyway, he needed to borrow a guitar.
One of the band members said, "Well, okay, I guess you could use mine
if you're real careful." I don't remember it being said in a joking way, either.
Jerry had help getting onto the stage and the band member showed him how to
put on his guitar and adjusted it for him. The band member then asked Jerry
if he needed it tuned up for him. Strumming a few chords, Jerry said he
would make do with how it was.
They asked Jerry what he wanted to play and he just asked if he could lead
out and asked the band to pick up on his introduction.
They all nodded and Jerry took off. He was all the way through
his really hot introduction and more than halfway thorough the
tune, when the band realized that Jerry was more than just
an old rock and roller- - he was Rock and Roll.
They recovered enough to help him finish that tune and roll over into another.
Jerry was always at his prime with a guitar in his hands.
You are missed, Jerry. Rock on!
Craig K. Anderson
my grandpa - i didn't know him very well but he was my grandfather and to this
day i love him and can't belive he is gone. I am amandah i only wish i could have
spent more time with him, the time we did spend together was great times. I love
you grandpa and you too grandpa. SWEET DREAMS! I LOVE YOU !
I met Jerry in 1996 I believe. He was a great man. I remember visiting he and
Joyce at there home several times. We actually were doing some recordings
together. He helped me more than he would ever know. I had moved from the
area to Tennessee to perform at a theatre where I portray Buddy Holly.
Unfortunately, I did not keep in touch and just today heard of his passing.
When I first got this show over a year ago now, I called Jerry and he was
excited for me. He will always be in my heart. Tonight I perform for Jerry!
Joyce, I love you.
I had the honour to work with jerry and all the blue caps in 1992 here in england and i must say
that i have never met a nicer bunch of guys in my life. I do not no wether dickie or any of the
boys would remember me as i was a meir roady working for the sundowners at the time the band
supporting them but i feel that i must pay my respects as jerry was a lovely man and give my
best to all the family ...
the world is now a lesser place at the loss of paul and jerry and would like to
ask if anyone there could give any of the boys my email address because it would be so
nice to talk to them again.
with the depest respect,
paul moreby - MBaggie2k@aol.com
ps: remember the false teeth dickie?
Jerry came into my life when I was 8 years old. He married my mother, Joyce
when I was 10. Throughout my life he was a very possitive, supporting,
loving, caring and giving man. A child could not ask for a better father than
Jerry was to me and my brothers and sisters. He was one of the happiest men
I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. One of my favorite memories of Jerry
was one summer when I was about 12, and he tought me how to make biscuits and
chocolate gravy over a campfire. Even though we didn't have much money, he
always made sure that we knew we were important and loved very much. He
taught me one of the most important lessons we can learn in life as
adults .... that money really doesn't buy happiness and as long as you have
family, friends and Jehovah God in your life, you are the richest man in the
world. I want to thank you mom, for bringing Jerry into my life. I love you.
You're in my prayers,
I only met Jerry briefly at the gig he played in London at the Kings Head pub in Fulham. He was a
very friendly , natural person. I was sad that I never got to speak to him for a longer period of
time as I'm sure he had some great stories to tell. As he was standing next to me after the gig I
heard him say to Gene's daughter " you phone me - I'll tell you all about your Daddy, he was a
great guy and a great friend of mine". But my lasting memory of him was watching this short, stocky
man get up on stage and transform into Gene Vincent before my eyes - it was uncanny ! Remember he
played as Gene in Japan for a few gigs in 59 - I can believe that he got away with it!
Like Paul Peek he will be missed.
Rock-a-Round Vintage Clothing
I interviewed Jerry Lee Merritt for a story in 1992 for Blue Suede News and he was a delightful guy.
Friendly to a fault and always writing songs and making plans for the future.I also had the pleasure
of booking Jerry Lee Merritt at the Tractor Tavern with Finland's Hal Peters Stringdusters in 1999
at a Buddy Knox tribute held here in Seattle. That night Jerry blow everyones mind with his work on
the guitar and powerful songing, this cat could still rock! I stayed in touch with Jerry and he also
became a friend. Today I feel the same way I did when Elvis died - rest in peace.
Dennis M. Dewitt
Assistant editor Blue Suede Magzine.
I was lucky enougth to meet Jerry back in 1993 when he came to England with The
Blue Caps. It was Great to meet another true legend - great musician and writer of some Gene
Vincent classics. Jerry you will always be remembered.
Although I never met Jerry in person, we corresponded quite a bit over the years & chatted on the
phone about him coming to Australia to work with me & my band at the Wintersun Festival in
I enjoyed the CD's he sent me which I happily played on my radio program. He was a talented
man, with a gift for writing great songs, several of which kept Gene Vincent on the charts in
the early 60's.
I'm sure everybody in the business will miss him for the kind & generous person he was,
and one of the great pioneers of early Rockabilly, Rock 'n' Roll.
All your friends in Australia will miss you, Jerry.
Ian B. MacLeod - The Rockabilly Cowboy.
We met Jerry and his lovely wife Joyce in 1993 during his european tour.
It was a great honour to do some gigs together with him in Germany and The Netherlands were we
backed him up.
What we remembered of this nice time that both Jerry and Joyce were enjoying their stay in Europe
and loved all the things we did together.Remembering the train trip from Germany to The Netherlands
were we passed places were he did his army time and he told us all about it.
He also told us about his time with Gene Vincent and what a great time he had and again it was
clear that he enjoyed his live as he did.
We remember Jerry as a very kind person and a good musician with his feelin just on the
right place when we played Rock and Roll together.
Our condoleances go out to his dear wife Joyce and his family.
We will never forget you Jerry.
Ronnie Nightingale and the Haydocks
I FIRST MET JERRY AT A CONVENTION FOR JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES AND HE HAD A
PART ON THE PROGRAM WHICH HE GAVE HIS EXPERIENCES OF THE MUSIC BUISNESS.
I RECOGNIZED RIGHT AWAY BY LISTENING TO THE WAY JERRY SPOKE THAT HE WAS A
VERY SINCERE AND DOWN TO EARTH PERSON. I REMEMBER HE SPOKE OF THE MANY
TALENTED PEOPLE THAT HE WORKED WITH OVER THE YEARS, AND WHAT JOY HE GOT
FROM MUSIC. HOWEVER JERRY HAD STUDIED THE BIBLE AND DEDICATED HIS LIFE TO
HIS GOD JEHOVAH, AN AT THAT TIME HE WAS A FULL TIME MINISTER AS WELL AS
PURSUING HIS MUSIC.
DURING THE INTERMISSION I LOOKED JERRY UP AND ASKED IF I COULD GET
TOGETHER WITH HIM SOMETIME, AS I LOVE PLAYING THE GUITAR ALSO. WELL JERRY
WAS ALWAYS A VERY BUSY MAN, SO I ONLY GOT TO SPEND SOME TIME WITH HIM A
COUPLE OF TIMES, AN THE EXPERIENCE WAS TRULY ONE OF THE VERY BEST VISITS
AND TIMES I HAVE HAD IN MY LIFE. JERRY WAS VERY HUMBLE ABOUT THE
ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF HIS MUSIC LIFE, AND HE ALWAYS WOULD DIRECT THE
CONVERSATION TOWARDS GOD'S KINGDOM AND THE PEOPLE HE HAD MET IN HIS
PIONEERING. JERRY WAS A DELIGHT TO BE AROUND AND ALWAYS HAD A VERY UPBEAT
AND POSITIVE ATTITUDE ABOUT LIFE. AM VERY PROUD TO HAVE BEEN A FRIEND OF
HIS IF ONLY FOR A SHORT TIME.
I HAD NOT SPOKE WITH JERRY FOR A WHILE, AND I JUST FOUND OUT ABOUT HIS
PASSING AWAY YESTERDAY, IT HURT ME VERY MUCH AND I SHED MANY TEARS, BUT I
KNOW JERRY IS NOW RESTING IN PEACE AND I WILL SEE HIM AGAIN IN WHAT THE
BIBLE PROMISSES A PARADISE EARTH.
MY HEARTFELT PRAYERS AND CONDOLENCES GO OUT TO HIS DEAR WIFE JOYCE AND
HIS FAMILY, JERRY WILL BE MISSED SO VERY MUCH, THE SMILE ON HIS FACE AND
HIS HOSPITABLE WAY ABOUT HIM, HE TRULY WAS A BLESSING FOR ALL OF US.
YOUR FRIEND JON GRUIS
I'm not sure when I met Jerry; must have been 1959 or 1960. Jerry and his
band (I think it was called Jerry Lee and the Pacers) played at a small
teen-age dance club in Yakima, Wash. This was not long after Jerry's band
played the Yakima Armory with Gene Vincent. I didn't see Jerry very much
over the years; every time I did he seemed to always have a big grin and a
happy, optimistic attitude. I worked for the local daily newspaper for many
years, and Jerry gave me more credit than I deserved for publicizing him and
his band. I last talked with him when I telephoned him after Gene Vincent was
inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Jerry told me about the
Rockabilly Hall of Fame, and that led to some very pleasant events for me.
E-mail received from him since then was signed, "Your friend." He will be
TO JOYCE: MY HEARFELT WISHES GO OUT TO YOU. LOST MY HUSBAND YEAR AGO FEB AND IS A SAD
YOUR SISTER, DELORES
Camas, Wa. - I did attend the memorial services for guitarist extraordinare
Jerry Lee Merritt today at 3pm in Knigdom Hall here in Camas, Washington which
is near the border with Portland, Oregon. About 100 people packed into the
tiny but homey looking church to hear Pastor George Burns (yes that was
really his name)
give the euology for Jerry Lee who,he said had just finished a cd which was
selling briskly over in Europe. I believe he said it was titled,"Thunder
Roll." Merritt's body was cremated and his ashes were said to have been
scattered, "Over everyplace that made him happy". The pastor recalled how
Jerry Lee was living with a heart that was only functioning at half it's
capacity and yet Jerry Lee always said he was fine.
There was, at the time of Jerry Lee Merritt's passing, an effort to induct him
into the Wash. state Rock N Roll Hall of Fame and the pastor is wondering if
anyone can help him with titles of Jerry Lee's albums or singing career
info.? It was a good service for a good and gentle giant. Jerry Lee Merritt
Ed Rollman, a fan
JERRY WAS A TRUE FRIEND AS WELL AS HIS SON LARRY WHO IS ALSO IN THE MUSIC
INDUSTRY IN NASHVILLE! I WANT TO SAY JERRY WAS ONE OF THE MOST DOWN TO EARTH
AND WELL RESPECTED HUMAN BEINGS I HAVE EVER BEEN HONORED TO KNOW AND I TRULY
THINK HE WAS SO TERRIBLY UNDER RATED! I BELIVE HE HAD SO MUCH MORE
ROCK-A-BILLY LEFT FOR US BUT I GUESS GOD WANTED TO HEAR IT FIRST IN
ROCK-A-BILLY HEAVEN. MY DEEPEST SYMPATHYS TO THE MERRITT FAMILY AND MAY JERRY
LIVE ON IN MUSIC WE WILL MISS YOU JERRY!
RIC (RAVEN) H.C.W.A.
Several of us know Jerry as a friend.
For those of us who knew Jerry, he was a very humble man.
Not the type that you would ever know of his fame and world wide travels unless you were
privileged to have been over to his home and walked in to his office where all of these
records were on the wall with his name all over them. WOW where did you get all these,
I asked. He said humbly, "Oh I sang a song or two"
We look forward to seeing him again in what the bible says is to be a paradise earth.
I remember Jerry saying to me "If this old heart stops ticking, Jehovah God can make it
start again". Thanks you Jerry, Joyce, Leanne and all the family, we have made friends
that will last forever.
Jim O/Washougal, Washington
I HAD NOT KNOWN JERRY LONG. OUR FIRST MEETING WAS A SHOW WE DID TOGETHER WITH THE BLUE CAPS
IN MUNICH GERMANY. MY FIRST IMPRESSION WAS THAT "HE WAS TRULY ONE OF THE NICEST PERSON'S IN THE
WORLD" AND I WAS RIGHT. ONE OF MY GREAT MEMORIES IS THE TIME HE SENT ME SOME OF HIS "HOME
SMOKED SALMON". HE WAS ALWAYS THERE TO DO SOMETHING NICE FOR ANYONE. I JUST WISH THAT I HAD OF
KNOWN HIM BETTER. OUR SYMPATHY GOES OUT TO HIS WIFE JOYCE AND THE FAMILY. HIS PASSING HAS LEFT A
SAD VOID WITH EVERY ONE OF HIS FRIENDS AND FANS BUT, A JOYOUSLY REUNION IN ANOTHER PLACE.
GOD BLESS JERRY LEE MERRITT.
BILLY LEE AND JOYCE RILEY
I've never had the pleasure to meet Jerry, but I've heard a lot of good
things about Jerry. Jerry played for Gene Vincent, which I had the pleasure
to do also. I was hoping he would come to Vegas which I've attended the last
three years, but unfortunately Bob Timmers told me That he could'nt make it.
I was hoping to meet him and shake his hand and establish a relationship. I
send my condolences to his family and friends. Jerry and Paul are now rockin'
together in Rockabilly Heaven ... God Bless.
Dickie Harrell, BLESS YOU MAN you got me to crying today so early in the
morning. I never saw such a nice, warm, caring, confident and yet unassuming man
as Jerry Lee Merritt and maybe you and Knox and some others were like that-so
nice to we fans and I just say thank you and Bless you!!! Life that can be so
tough, is life that can be made so much more easier and sweeter thru the
music you all have given us.Period. It don;t get any better than that. Excuse
me now I gotta go finish this good cry ... Jerry Lee Merritt: YOU DID COUNT AND
YOU MEANT A WHOLE LOT TO WE FANS!! HEAR IT GOOD: YOUR ROCKABILLY TOILING
WASN'T EVER IN VAIN! ROCK ON FROM UP ON HIGH NOW YOU ROCK'N'ROLL REBEL!!
Ed Rollman, a fan
Jerry Lee Merritt will be much missed, as Paul Peek is.
This is why we have to be thankful to people like Timmers who brought us many
of our Rock'n'Roll Legend, including BLUE CAPS, to Viva Las Vegas, for fans
all over the world to meet and see. We better take advantage of this
opportunity. Unfortunately in too many instances the clock is ticking, and a second chance
may not come. I am fortunate and honored to have had come to my Meet & Greet, from the Blue
Caps, DICKIE HARRELL and BILL MACK, and pose with them in front of Gene
Vincent's black leather suit.
God Bless Jerry Merritt, God Bless, Gene Vincent, God Bless The Blue Caps, in our hearts they will
Always Rollin' The Rock,
I was very surprised that Jerry co-wrote She She little Sheila with Gene
cause I heard this song done on Saturday at Rancho Relaxo where the
Royal Crowns were playing. I guess they didn't know that Jerry Merritt
died including myself until I found out yesterday. It's another loss for
Rockabilly and we still got some pioneers still out there but there's
not that many left. It's sad but true.
LOSS OF A GOOD FRIEND. Well gang - we have lost another one of the good guys. Jerry, to me, was one
of the best and nicest persons I've ever met. I was very shaken to hear of his death. He recently
told me he was moving and buying a farm. A fine person, friend, musician, etc. It was an honor
for me to have met and worked with him. Another great loss. Joyce: Donna and myself are so sorry
to hear of his passing. This "Town-Cryer" will realy miss you, old friend and buddy. Tell the
guys up there "hello" for me.
I had the pleasure of meeting Jerry and Joyce several times when he was in the UK touring with
The Blue Caps, and corresponded with him occasionally whilst researching my book, when he was
most helpful. He was an enthusiastic and friendly guy, who put on good performances in a modest
and cheerful way, and, of course, he made some fine records with Gene and wrote some great songs
for him. When he played Keighley, he unexpectedly dedicated "She She Little Sheila" to my wife,
a charming touch. Rock on, Jerry.
Ever since we started the Rockabilly Hall of Fame website, Jerry was there ... helping,
supplying photos, text and access to other rockabilly artists. He even offered to put a couple of
his tracks onto our compilation CDs. I've had many enjoyable conversations with him over the phone
- always a joy to talk to - what a nice guy! I'll miss him, God bless.
Visit Jerry Lee Merritt's Rockabilly Hall of Fame Page